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What Should I Pack In My Beach Tote Bag?

Spending the day at the beach is one of our favourite past times. Soaking up the rays, dipping into the sea or just reading a good book and taking in the fresh air is our idea of heaven. If it’s yours too, then your tote bag is a must have accessory. But what should you  pack? You don’t want to overfill your bag and end up lugging it around, but nor do you want to forget the essentials. Here’s a little guide to help you out.

You Definitely Need

There are several items that you will not want to go without. These will likely take up most of the room, but you’d miss them if they weren’t around!

Sun tan lotion

It goes without saying that sun lotion or oil should be high on the list of priorities. Bright red burn is not a good look, and unprotected skin is at severe risk when exposed to UV for substantial periods. Make sure to cover your skin before you hit the shores and keep a small bottle in case you want to take a dip in the sea or the lotion wears off.


Be stylish and sensible (yes it is possible). Sunglasses take up a small amount of room in your bag, but are essential to protecting your eyes from the sun.


Whether you are using your towel for lying on or for drying off after a swim, make sure you don’t leave it at home by packing it in your tote. Bring along a plastic bag to pop it in once it’s sandy or wet to prevent damaging the other items in your bag.


Surely you wouldn’t dream of leaving your phone behind? How else will you check Facebook and Twitter or post to Instagram without it? There are other reasons to keep your mobile at hand, namely in case you need to call anyone if you have to deal with an emergency. If you are going for a swim, make sure someone you know is able to look after it.

Bottle of water

Sitting out in the sun for hours on end will without a doubt mean that you need a refreshment every once in a while. Whilst the beachside bar cocktails taste delicious, balance these with some fresh water to stay hydrated. Don’t worry about bringing along litres and litres, as most beaches should have facilities for refilling your bottle.


OK, time to be honest – do you pack plasters in your tote bag? You really should, as it can be quite easy to get small cuts or scratches. From jagged rocks to hidden items under the sand, you don’t want to be without a means of covering any injuries. On the plus side, you have the sea on your side as the salt has anti-inflammatory properties. Clean up and bandage up to avoid infection.


Oops, you’ve popped to the beach and forgotten your hotel room keys! Sure, they will probably have spares at the reception, but that can be a hassle when you want to get back to your room and shower off the sand on your legs and arms. Try and opt for a bag that has inner pockets to prevent your keys or other valuables from falling out.

Tropical island with tote bag

You Might Need

Depending on how long you are spending at the coastline, there are a few extra bits that might be useful to pack.

Cover ups

You never know when the weather might change, and that gentle sea breeze could quickly cause a chill. A kaftan will soon provide you with that extra coverage you need to stay comfortable on top, and a sarong will help to cover your legs. These cover ups are also ideal if you are strolling the shore front shops or heading to a restaurant after lounging.

Wet wipes

Having a beach picnic? Pack wet wipes to keep your hands clean. These are also really useful for cooling down your face after passing the time in the sunshine. Store a small packet for those ‘just in case’ situations.


If you are looking to tan, you will want to keep your skin clear of make-up. However, you may wish to wear waterproof eyeliner and a form of lip cosmetic. Never bother about bringing your whole make up collection, as it may well melt in the heat (not to mention adding extra weight to your tote bag).


Always exercise caution if you are carrying high value items. Whilst your tote will keep them hidden, there is still a risk of loss or theft. If taking holiday snaps or listening to music (reading and playing games are a must on the beach) try and pack these near the bottom of your bag so they are less likely to fall out. Have we missed any of your tote bag necessities? Let us know in the comments section below.  

Want to learn even more? Then feel free to look through our next blog - Summer Holiday Packing Tips.


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